14 June 2012
House in Pshdar district destroyed in 2009 bombing raid
Christian Peacemaker Teams-Iraqi Kurdistan accepted an invitation to the Iranian Consulate in Sulaimani on 22 May. They brought with them the team’s latest report, Disrupted Lives: the effects of cross-border attacks by Turkey and Iran on Kurdish villages.
It was CPT’s first visit with Iranian diplomats in Iraqi Kurdistan since 2010, despite several attempts, and the first at the Sulaimani Consulate. The team’s primary purpose was to deliver the report, which documents harm to civilians from cross-border bombing and shelling of villages in Iraqi Kurdistan.
First Consul Hamid Bodaghi was attentive and showed interest in the report and CPT’s work. “Any question, any ambiguity about Iran’s position, do not hesitate to contact us,” he said.
Questioned about the need for shelling over the border, Bodaghi said it was “natural and normal” for the Iranian government to desire the safety of its citizens, that “every corner of the world” wanted this as well
When asked if the shelling of villages was the most effective way to combat militia groups in these areas, Bodaghi insisted that the border guards, largely made up of locals, are able to distinguish “between civilians, smugglers and terrorists; they know – they’re local,” suggesting that Iranian forces involved in the attacks make no mistakes and harm no civilians.
He also said that villagers receive warnings well in advance of potential shelling, so that they may remove themselves and their animals from the area to safety. According to villagers, Iran never warns before a shelling.
CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the violence perpetrated by Turkey and Iran against the Kurdish people.
CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone the U.N.-imposed sanctions against Iran, which collectively punish the Iranian and Kurdish people of Iran.
CPT Iraqi Kurdistan does not condone calls for “military action” against Iran.